The Sunny Side: Short Stories and Poems for Proper Grown-Ups

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Overview

From the beloved creator of Winnie-the-Pooh comes an irresistible collection of short stories guaranteed to delight readers of all ages.

Drawing from a collection of stories originally published in 1921 and chosen exclusively by the author himself, The Sunny Side gathers the best short works by the inimitable A. A. Milne. Written for the satire magazine Punch, these brief stories and essays perfectly capture Milne's sly humor, beguiling social insight, and scathing wit. From ...

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The Sunny Side

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Overview

From the beloved creator of Winnie-the-Pooh comes an irresistible collection of short stories guaranteed to delight readers of all ages.

Drawing from a collection of stories originally published in 1921 and chosen exclusively by the author himself, The Sunny Side gathers the best short works by the inimitable A. A. Milne. Written for the satire magazine Punch, these brief stories and essays perfectly capture Milne's sly humor, beguiling social insight, and scathing wit. From "Odd Verses" to "War Sketches," "Summer Days" to "Men of Letters," Milne takes his readers from the stiff British drawing room to the irreverent joy of a boy's day at the beach. Ideal for curling up with in the hammock or stretching out by the fire, these tales shine brightly any day of the year.

Complete with a series of whimsical illustrations, The Sunny Side offers the perfect chance to rediscover this forgotten classic by one of our most cherished authors.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Years before he became a world-famous children's author, A. A. Milne already had large following as a frequent Punch contributor. In fact, between 1910 and 1921, four book-length collections of his Punch short stories and essays were released, of which this selection, now republished, was the last. As one would expect from the author of Winnie-the-Pooh, these varied pieces for the British humor magazine display Milne's imaginative power and whimsical wit.
Publishers Weekly

First published in 1921, this witty, pleasantly rarefied miscellany from Winnie-the-Pooh creator Milne features his contributions to the British magazine Punch, where he was assistant editor, in the years before and after WWI. In disarming short pieces grouped around various themes, the deft Milne gently-very gently-skewers the peccadilloes of his generation and its classes, such as Simon Simpson, the "litterateur of some eminence but little circulation," who invites all his friends to join him on a lazy holiday on the French Riviera ("Oranges and Lemons"). In the section "Men of Letters," Milne has great fun caricaturing the self-serious pomposity of fellow writers and poets, and even offers a sampling of the tedious fare presented at Lady Poldoodle's Poetry At-Homes. Some of the pieces in the "War-Time" section chronicle the humble predicament of the French infantryman: managing an intractable horse or finding comfort in a toy dog. A set of "Home Notes" concerns the narrator's dear thoughts on married life with the sensible but rather fluttery Celia; one piece finds the couple instigating a mystifying dinner party game of Proverbs. Milne's quotidian observations remain quite moving in their wry simplicities, which are not simple at all. (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061227097
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/26/2007
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,338,123
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.25 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Alexander Milne (1882-1956) was a playwright, an essayist, a novelist, and a short-story writer. He is best known as the creator of a series of children's books about a teddy bear named Winnie-the-Pooh. Milne was also a longtime contributor and assistant editor at the British humor magazine Punch.

Biography

It seems strange that A. A. Milne would have not have wanted to be associated with one of literature’s most beloved characters. Having achieved some success as a playwright and novelist, he aspired to be more than only an author of children’s books.

However, Milne’s books -- Winnie-the-Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner, and the verse collections When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six -- are hardly typical of most stories for kids. They remain among the smartest of the genre, and were likely written as much for himself as for his young son, Christopher. Infused with a sly wit, they contain humor that only an adult can appreciate; indeed, some of the poems in When We Were Very Young first appeared in the satiric magazine Punch, where Milne was an editor.

Rendered by illustrator Ernest H. Shepard in quaint, warm watercolors, Pooh and friends Tigger, Kanga, Roo, Owl, Eeyore, and Piglet star in stories about playing games and helping friends in and around their home near “100-Aker Wood.” In one instance of Milne’s ironic humor, a sign outside Owl’s residence reading “PLES RING IF AN RNSER IS REQIRD” is attributed to Pooh’s boy companion Christoper Robin, “who was the only one in the forest who could spell.” The books are written with sophistication and a certain amount of dry British wit, employing turns of phrase (“customary procedure,” “general remarks”) not usually found in children’s stories.

The volumes of verse range over a wider collection of themes, with Pooh appearing in just a few poems. Most of them offer a young person’s perspective on subjects such as imaginary friends, feigning illness, and going to the zoo; and it’s evident how Milne’s work prefigures that of Dr. Seuss (From Going to the Zoo: “There are biffalo-buffalo-bisons/A great big bear with wings/There’s sort of a tiny potamus/A tiny nossarus too”). Other poems feature cowardly knights, buffoonish Sirs, and other fantasy figures.

Little of Milne’s work for adults, which included the autobiography Year In, Year Out and his first novel, Lovers in London, can be easily found in print. One adult title, however, is still being published: the pleasing Gosford Park-style Red House Mystery.

Pooh, meanwhile, continues to grow as a powerful franchise, with modern-day titles, animation, and games that are almost as delightful as Milne’s original texts -- but not quite.

Good To Know

Milne did not set out with any particular desire to write for children: The Pooh books were originally intended for the real Christopher Robin, Milne’s son.

Milne’s teacher and mentor was the scientist and writer H.G. Wells.

He edited Cambridge’s undergrad paper, Granta, and was later the assistant editor of Punch.

Milne wrote several plays that are no longer published, but were once quite popular, including as Mr. Pim Passes By and the Kenneth Grahame adaptation Toad of Toad Hall.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Alan Alexander
    2. Hometown:
      Cotchford Farm, Sussex, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 18, 1882
    2. Place of Birth:
      Hampstead, London
    1. Date of Death:
      1311956
    2. Place of Death:
      Cotchford Farm, Sussex, England

Read an Excerpt

The Sunny Side

Short Stories and Poems for Proper Grown-Ups
By A.A. Milne

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 A.A. Milne
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061227097

Chapter One

Oranges and Lemons

I. The Invitation

"Dear Myra," wrote Simpson at the beginning of the year—"I have an important suggestion to make to you both, and I am coming round tomorrow night after dinner about nine o'clock. As time is so short I have asked Dahlia and Archie to meet me there, and if by any chance you have gone out we shall wait till you come back.

"Yours ever,

"Samuel

"P.S.—I have asked Thomas too."

"Well?" said Myra eagerly, as I gave her back the letter.

In deep thought I buttered a piece of toast.

"We could stop Thomas," I said. "We might ring up the Admiralty and ask them to give him something to do this evening. I don't know about Archie. Is he—"

"Oh, what do you think it is? Aren't you excited?" She sighed and added, "Of course I know what Samuel is."

"Yes. Probably he wants us all to go to the Zoo together... or he's discovered a new way of putting, or—I say, I didn't know Archie and Dahlia were in town."

"They aren't. But I expect Samuel telegraphed to them to meet him under the clock at Charing Cross disguised, when they would hear of something to their advantage. Oh, I wonder what it is. It must be something real this time."

Since the day when Simpsonwoke me up at six o'clock in the morning to show me his stance-for-a-full-wooden-club shot, I have distrusted his enthusiasms; but Myra loves him as a mother; and I—I couldn't do without him; and when a man like that invites a whole crowd of people to come to your flat just about the time when you are wondering what has happened to the sardines on toast—well, it isn't polite to put the chain on the door and explain through the letter-box that you have gone away for a week.

"We'd better have dinner a bit earlier to be on the safe side," I said, as Myra gave me a parting brush down in the hall. "If any further developments occur in the course of the day, ring me up at the office. By the way, Simpson doesn't seem to have invited Peter. I wonder why not. He's nearly two, and he ought to be in it. Myra, I'm sure I'm tidy now."

"Pipe, tobacco, matches, keys, money?"

"Everything," I said. "Bless you. Goodbye."

"Good-bye," said Myra lingeringly. "What do you think he meant by 'as time is so short'?"

"I don't know. At least," I added, looking at my watch, "I do know I shall be horribly late. Goodbye."

I fled down the stairs into the street, waved to Myra at the window... and then came cautiously up again for my pipe. Life is very difficult on the mornings when you are in a hurry.

At dinner that night Myra could hardly eat for excitement.

"You'll be sorry afterwards," I warned her, "when it turns out to be nothing more than that he has had his hair cut."

"But even if it is, I don't see why I shouldn't be excited at seeing my only brother again—not to mention sister-in-law."

"Then let's move," I said. "They'll be here directly."

Archie and Dahlia came first. We besieged them with questions as soon as they appeared.

"Haven't an idea," said Archie, "I wanted to bring a revolver in case it was anything really desperate, but Dahlia wouldn't let me."

"It would have been useful too," I said, "if it turned out to be something merely futile."

"You're not going to hurt my Samuel, however futile it is," said Myra. "Dahlia, how's Peter, and will you have some coffee?"

"Peter's lovely. You've had coffee, haven't you, Archie?"

"Better have some more," I suggested, "in case Simpson is merely soporific. We anticipate a slumbering audience, and Samuel explaining a new kind of googlie he's invented."

Entered Thomas lazily.

"Hallo," he said in his slow voice. "What's it all about?"

"It's a raid on the Begum's palace," explained Archie rapidly. "Dahlia decoys the Chief Mucilage; you, Thomas, drive the submarine; Myra has charge of the clockwork mouse, and we others hang about and sing. To say more at this stage would be to bring about a European conflict."

"Coffee, Thomas?" said Myra.

"I bet he's having us on," said Thomas gloomily, as he stirred his coffee.

There was a hurricane in the hall. Chairs were swept over; coats and hats fell to the ground; a high voice offered continuous apologies—and Simpson came in.

"Hallo, Myra!" he said eagerly. "Hallo, old chap! Hallo, Dahlia! Hallo, Archie! Hallo, Thomas, old boy!" He fixed his spectacles firmly on his nose and beamed round the room.

"We're all here—thanking you very much for inviting us," I said. "Have a cigar—if you've brought any with you."

Fortunately he had brought several with him.

"Now then, I'll give any of you three guesses what it's all about."

"No, you don't. We're all waiting, and you can begin your apology right away."

Simpson took a deep breath and began.

"I've been lent a villa," he said.

There was a moment's silence... and then Archie got up.

"Good-bye," he said to Myra, holding out his hand. "Thanks for a very jolly evening. Come along Dahlia."

"But I say, old chap," protested Simpson.

"I'm sorry, Simpson, but the fact that you're moving from the Temple to Cricklewood, or wherever it is, and that somebody else is paying the thirty pounds a year, is jolly interesting, but it wasn't good enough to drag us up from the country to tell us about it. You could have written. However, thank you for the cigar."

"My dear fellow, it isn't Cricklewood. It's the Riviera!"

Archie sat down again.

"Samuel!" cried Myra. "How she must love you!"

"I should never lend Simpson a villa of mine," I said. "He'd only lose it."

"They're some very old friends who live there, and they're going away for a month, and the servants are staying on, and they suggested that if I was going abroad again this year—"



Continues...

Excerpted from The Sunny Side by A.A. Milne Copyright © 2007 by A.A. Milne. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Table of Contents


Introduction     9
Oranges and Lemons     13
Men of Letters     57
Summer Days     109
War-Time     139
Home Notes     181
A Few Guests     243
And Others     273
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